Thousands of students, teachers, and university workers are mobilising against the unconsulted appointment of Melih Bulu as rector of the prestigious Boğaziçi University in Istanbul.
On Friday, 1 January, President Erdogan appointed Melih Bulu, a ruling party member, as Rector of Boğaziçi University. This generated widespread discontent in the university community, mainly from students who have been protesting since Monday, along with teachers and other political and trade union sectors, who support their claims. They are calling for Melih’s resignation and are demanding the right to elect their rector. The protests extended to other universities and cities that are supporting the struggle of the students of Boğaziçi.
Boğaziçi University is one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey, which brings together about 15 thousand students, and was one of the last bastions of resistance against the advance of the reactionary Erdogan government. In 2016, the president amended a decree-law to appoint directly university rectors, Boğaziçi University being one of the last universities that still elected its rectors. Therefore, both students and teachers at the university protested and demonstrated against the hand-picking. The movement denounces that it undermines the university’s democracy and seeks to erode academic freedom as a mere figurehead of the Erdogan government.
Amid the protests, the government unleashed strong repression, claiming the protest to be illegal, taking dozens of demonstrators into custody. They even searched for demonstrators at their homes and arrested them. Although most of them were already released, the legal proceedings that criminalise protest continue.
The mobilised university students formed a platform under the name of “Solidarity with Bogazici”. Events and rallies are taking place at the gates of the universities and on the streets. The reactionary and repressive Erdogan government fears an extension of the solidarity movement. Given the sympathy, it is getting from the popular sectors.
The Party for Workers’ Democracy (IDP) and its youth, the Turkish section of the IWU-FI, supports and makes an international call for a solidarity campaign for the struggle of the university community of Bogaziçi, to which the IWU-FI adheres. Therefore, we call on you to send expressions of solidarity with the slogan “ Boğaziçi öğrencilerinin mücadelesini destekliyoruz – We support the struggle of the students of Boğaziçi “, with a photo, to our mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Workers’ Unity Fourth International
7 January 2021